I joined Twitter in September 2008 (!!) according to my bio. Twitter has always been the non-loved social media channel. People jumped on Instagram. Fell in love with TikTok. Remember Vine? They were all over it. But Twitter? People who were non-believers always said they didn’t “get” it or never found the value. But I have always been here to say it’s my favorite. Which may be another post for another time. I recently had a fun Twitter conversation with fellow Pittsburgh “tweeps” as we used to say “back in the day.” Social media day, that is. Talking about how many great connections we’ve made there and still do today. But every PR pro needs to engage with journalists on Twitter to add to those connections.
All that to say, a lot of PR people have given up on or not used Twitter but to me, they are missing out on a huge opportunity: media relations. Now I am not saying you need to full-blown pitch media on Twitter. That would be weird. Some say their DMs are open or ask for pitches so by all means do that when that happens. But I am talking about engaging with journalists in a natural, conversational way (that has nothing to do with your pitch). Here’s a look at what I do.
Start With a List
One of my favorite Twitter features is Twitter lists. Instagram, I beg of you for this so I can keep track of influencers better! I’ve been curating Twitter lists for years, and it’s such a great way to save journalists in one easy list to weed out your timeline. For example, I had a previous medical client so I had one main list of national health reporters, and then when we needed to target media just in their city, I made one that was specific to that city. When I was heavily pitching something, I simply scrolled and checked in every morning to see if there was opportunity to engage. And, when it was just “business as usual” I made a point to do this several times a month at least. Which brings me to my next point…
Engage When You Don’t Need To
They say the best time to build your network is when you don’t need it. The same is true for Twitter. People will see right through you if all of a sudden you start blowing them up on Twitter and then – boom – a pitch is in their inbox. Following and liking some tweets is a great start, and find some commonality. Are they talking about watching the new “And Just Like That” and you have some thoughts to share? Send a reply. Retweet some interesting articles of theirs. Be genuine, and they’ll start to take notice.
One other tip here: sometimes I RT journalists looking for sources when I can’t help them. Maybe it’s something not having to do with what I am pitching, but I share it out to my network (a lot of PR pros). Or, I help connect them with sources. This is extra work for you but it’s SO helpful for them and a great way to establish that relationship.
Tweet the News
So you scored a placement…congratulations. Next is to share, share, share. Tweet it and tag the journalist and the outlet – from your personal account and company account. Do the same on LinkedIn. That’s a great and easy way to get visibility. Not to mention, you are helping garner more eyeballs on their story. That’s something that is VERY important for them now more than ever.
Ragan’s PR Daily put out a similar article not too long about about engaging with journalists on social media. All good tips. I’d also like to add that Facebook Groups are another great way to connect with journalists. I am in a few where journalists are sharing what they are working on and looking for sources (one woman even puts out a weekly newsletter talking about what she’s looking for – score) so that’s a super easy way to show how valuable of a resource you are.
Finally, don’t be creepy. If someone tweeted seven years ago something about their dog, don’t bring it up in an email pitch like a weirdo. There’s a way to be personable but also when it comes to the actual email pitch, be short and sweet. Twitter is where you can be more fun. Every PR pro needs to engage with journalists on Twitter as part of their media relations strategy.